Web inventor urges users to seek ‘complete control’ of data

Author: 
AFP
ID: 
1552340959070311300
Mon, 2019-03-11 21:01

GENEVA: World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee on Monday
slammed the increasing commodification of personal information and
appealed for Internet users to strive to maintain “complete
control” of their data.
Berners-Lee, credited with creating the web in 1989, is on a
mission to save his invention from a range of problems increasingly
dominating online life, including misinformation and a lack of data
protection.
“You should have complete control of your data. It’s not oil.
It’s not a commodity,” he told a small group of journalists
gathered at Europe’s physics lab CERN, where he first came up
with the idea for the web 30 years ago.
When it comes to personal data, “you should not be able to sell
it for money,” he said, “because it’s a right.”
Berners-Lee, who last year launched a development platform called
“Solid” aimed at giving users control of their data, described
a frightening future if we do not rise to the challenge of privacy
protection.
“There is a possible future you can imagine (in which) your
browser keeps track of everything that you buy,” he said.
In this scenario, “your browser actually has more information
then Amazon does,” he said, warning against complacency in
expecting no harm will come from this loss of control over one’s
own data.
“We shouldn’t assume that the world is going to stay like it
is,” he said.
People needed to do more to protect themselves and their data and
not to simply expect that governments will look out for their best
interests, he argued.
Berners-Lee told a Washington Post event last week that he launched
the Solid projet in response to concerns about personal data being
bought and sold without the consent of users.

The platform aimed “to separate the apps from the data storage”
so users could decide where and how they would share their personal
information, he said.
He acknowledged Monday that enforcible laws would be needed to
protect the most sensitive personal data.
“Sometimes it has to be legislation which says personal data, you
know, genetic data, should never be used,” he said.
In addition to his work advocating for data protection, Berners-Lee
has launched a “Contract for the Web,” aimed at ensuring the
integrity of online information.
In a letter published Monday, he hailed the opportunities the web
had created, giving marginalized groups a voice and making daily
life easier.
But he warned, “it has also created opportunity for scammers,
given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of
crimes easier to commit.”
He was nevertheless optimistic that the problems could be
fixed.
“Given how much the web has changed in the past 30 years, it
would be defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web as we
know it can’t be changed for the better in the next 30,” he
wrote.
“If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will
not have failed us. We will have failed the web.”

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Source: *FS – All – Science News Net
Web inventor urges users to seek ‘complete control’ of data